Silvertone radios were first sold in the 1920s and became popular in the 1930s and early 1940s due to World War II and the public’s interest in information about the war. Silvertone also sold antenna for the radios with “stratobeam reception” and wind generators to power the radios. There are a few methods to identifying a Silvertone radio correctly.
Look at the radio dial. Many have the word “Silvertone” written on the dial. In addition, the plates on Silvertone dials up to 1935 were often ornately designed and made out of copper, brass or nickel. Images of early Silvertone dials can be seen at the website SFHobbies.com.
Look for round dials, many with the image of a globe or the word “Silvertone” inscribed on the dial itself. These are indicative of dials made between 1931 and 1940 by Silvertone. The plates for dials during this time were less ornate and more streamlined. Later models also featured a rectangular dial with the word “Silvertone” written on it.
Examine the radio for the Silvertone logo. The logo was often placed on the radio bezel, the knobs, on the radio itself, or on the informational sticker placed on the chassis.
Look for warranty information provided by Mission Bell Radio Inc. This company made Silvertone radios for the Sears & Roebuck Company between 1935 and 1949. The radios were called Silvertone Mission Bell Radios. These radios were only available in California and are fairly rare.
Examine the speakers for a part number or the body of the radio for a model number. The model number may also be printed on a label located inside, on the back or bottom of the radio. A list of speakers used by Silvertone can be found on the website SF Hobbies.com. Pictures and information about specific model numbers can be found on the website Jitterbuzz.com.
Look at antique radio reference books at your local library, bookstore or online to view information about Silvertone radios and view photos of antique Silvertones. One example is “The Complete Price Guide to Antique Radios: The Sears Silvertone Catalogs 1930-1942.”
Things You'll Need:
- Silvertone radio
- Computer with Internet access
- Library access
Meredith Jameson writes early childhood parenting and family health articles for various online publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from San Francisco State University.